Monday, September 10, 2012

Bike Tour in Sydney

Today we went on a bike tour with a group called Bike Buffs. I found out about this company through Living Social and am so glad we decided to join in. The tour was excellent and would be well worth the full price fair.

Our day started with a ride across the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The bridge has a nice bike path (no dodging pedestrians here!) and great views of the city. On the other side we stopped for a few photos.

Our guides were very informative giving us a plethora of information and sometimes gossip as we went. They really knew how to bring the city to life.

They also took group and couple photos for us. One of my favorites is the one below of Jay and me jumping in front of the bridge.

These photos were also a great opportunity to act like a fool, which of course we loved!

Some of the sights we saw included Luna Park, above. Luna park was built as a thank-you to the bridge workers after completion and is loosely based off of staten island in NYC. It makes no money and simply charges to break even.

For a snack break, we headed to a lovely little garden known as Wendy's garden. Wendy is the wife of a famous late artist. Sadly her daughter also passed recently from cancer. All of Wendy's grief went into the garden which is built where the railway was throwing their trash. It was nice to see a little about the people's view of Sydney. Currently, there is a movement to get the area re-zoned as public land and a public garden. Wendy has also decided to leave her house to the state when she passes. Locals presume that her house will be refurnished into an art museum, but only time will tell. If you're in Sydney, this is a slightly-hard-to-find but great addition to a tour.

After our snack of fruit and candy, we headed back over the bridge and to our lunch stop. We had been warned that Sydney was pretty pricey. You also never know where a tour group will stop. The little gem we went to was quite affordable. I got a generous helping of pasta for just $9. This is especially nice considering we were sitting right on the water while we ate!

One of our goofy guides also took the opportunity to ride a large wheeled bike. I just hope I am as active as he is when I'm his age!

After lunch we cruised around The Rocks, the Opera House, Botanic Gardens and downtown. One of the bikes broke down around the Opera House, which was fine by us, because to meant a break in the Botanic Gardens. Jay and I hope to explore them a bit more later in our trip.

One of my favorite stops was Mrs. McQuiries Chair. This is where the governors wife would sit and look out over the harbor. She could see this little island, called pinch-gut that was once sacred to the aboriginals but turned into a prison for the English. From her chair she would give a thumbs up or down on whether to hang the prisoner that day. As you can see, the jury is still out whether our group would hang anyone.
She also influenced her husband in a more positive manor by convincing him to build a proper prisoner barracks and church.

From there we continued downtown and over to Darling Harbor. This part of the tour was very similar to the places we saw on the bus tour yesterday, but gave a completely different view. On the bus we could only ride around the outside, while on bikes we could see everything from the pier itself.

Overall it was a great day and tour. I especially enjoyed how up-close the bikes allowed us to get in so much of the city.

For dinner, we headed to the Australian Hotel for gourmet pizza. Our pizza had kangaroo and emu on it. It was delicious!

Our only complaint was after a long day of biking, the pizza wasn't as filling as we anticipated. The pizza above is a large, which was about the size of a dinner plate. Oh yeah, and we spent $18 for 2 beers, definitely wasn't prepared for that.

Now we're off to bed, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow!